Wednesday 25 November 2020 at 20:00 Mogens Dahl Concert Hall PROGRAMME: Franz Schubert (1797 – 1828): Winterreise
Wednesday 25 November 2020 at 20:00
Mogens Dahl Concert Hall
Franz Schubert (1797 – 1828): Winterreise
There are so few major passages in ‘Winterreise’ that one’s ears pick up when they appear. The first time a modulation to major occurs is unsurprisingly when we are introduced to the girl who ‘spoke of love’ in ‘Gute Nacht’. But even more markedly: The entire fourth stanza of this first song is in major; here, when the wanderer leaves the girl with an engraved ‘good night’ on the door. As if the final goodbye is a redemption.
During Schubert’s legendary song cycle, it becomes increasingly clear this it is not a trivial tale of a young man in love who has been let down by a girl. It is the entire human existence that is at the core of the despair and longing of the wanderer – the eternal stranger.
Wilhelm Müller’s poems depict an inescapable journey towards death, but Schubert clads the frozen winter landscape, where tears freeze to ice, in a music that paradoxically contains extremely vivid aesthetics.
The piano breathes life into the branches of the linden tree, letting it evoke memories of shady summer days in a ghostly manner. And, in a flash, the snow is melted away by tears, allowing the water to flow vividly through the landscape – right down to the town and the house of the beloved. But alas: In the next song, ‘Auf dem Flusse’, the water freezes over again. In ‘Frühlingstraum’, the cock crows dangerously every time the dream of spring becomes too vivid, but the song fades out in an unanswered question: When will I hold my beloved in my arms?
The basic dilemma is expressed in ‘Erstarrung’: There is an image of the beloved in the frozen heart, but if the heart melts, the image will also melt away. In other words, during the last part of the journey towards winter, there is no going back. The post horn sounds in vain and hope dies with the last leaf falling to the ground. However, both are portrayed with vivid musical empathy in which even the tears falling at the graveside of hope is nuanced in the piano’s last shift from minor to major.
Empty piano fifths and a freezing, unresolved conclusion leave us scurrying in the cold: Does the creepy organ-grinder in the last song forebode the meaninglessness of death? Will hope live through the winter?
JOHAN REUTER, baritone
Johan Reuter is one of Denmark’s great international artists. The excellent bass baritone regularly performs at theatres and festivals such as the Royal Opera House in London, the Metropolitan Opera in New York, the Wagner Festival in Bayreuth, the Opera de Bastille in Paris, the Wiener Staatsoper, the Bayerische Staatsoper in Munich and the Salzburger Festspiele.
His great stylistic span means that he is also a regular guest at concert halls such as Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Berliner Philharmoniker in Berlin, Royal Albert Hall in London, and Musikverein in Vienna. Johan Reuter has completed countless CD and DVD recordings and he has twice won the Reumert Prize as singer of the year.
Johan Reuter trained at the Royal Danish Academy of Music and at the Royal Opera Academy in Copenhagen. From 1996 to 2019, he was a regular part of the Royal Theatre’s solo ensemble. Today, he is still affiliated as an Associate artist, while his engagements at the Gran Teatre de Liceu in Barcelona, the Bayerische Staatsoper in Munich and the Metropolitan in New York have gained momentum.
JAN PHILIP SCHULZE, piano
Jan Philip Schulze got off to a quick start on his international career as an award winner at a string of competitions in Italy, Spain and South Africa.
As a lieder accompanist, he has regularly performed concerts with Juliane Banse, Annette Dasch, Rachel Harnisch, Dietrich Henschel, Jonas Kaufmann and Violeta Urmana. He regularly performs in the Berlin Philharmonic, the London Wigmore Hall, Salle Pleyel in Paris, Auditorio Nacional in Madrid, in Tokyo, at La Scala in Milan as well as at the festivals in Lucerne, Salzburg, Edinburgh, Munich and Schwarzenberg.
Jan Philip Schulze has recorded all of Hans Werner Henze’s works for piano and premiered music by several contemporary artists.
Jan Philip Schulze trained at the Musikhochschule in Munich and at the Tschaikovsky Conservatory in Moscow. Since 2004, he has been professor of “Liedgestaltung” at the Music Conservatory in Hanover.